I’m currently visiting my two-year-old grandson Alban and remembered a poem from my own childhood as he was being put to bed last night. There was still some daylight left, and Robert Louis Stevenson “Bed in Summer” captures a child’s sense of injustice at having to go to bed before it’s completely dark.
I devoured Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses when I was young and part of the reason may have been that I always felt that he understood me and was on my side. The greatest children’s poetry always gives that sense.
Bed in Summer
By Robert Louis Stevenson
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?